Thursday, September 26, 2013

9/26 Weak coal, oil trains, Sound Action, Mission Cr., Gulf damage, NW Passage, BC greenhouse gas

This year, falling coal prices have raised questions about whether the controversial coal export terminals proposed in the Pacific Northwest would pencil out. Now, an analysis of one major coal company's finances shows it could be more profitable to bet against coal than to actually export it. Cloud Peak Energy is a major player in the Powder River Basin in Wyoming and Montana, the source of the coal that could be exported from the terminals proposed near Bellingham and Longview, Washington and Boardman, Oregon. Clark Williams-Derry is with the Sightline Institute, a sustainability think tank in Seattle. His analysis of Cloud Peak's second quarter financial report shows that nearly all of the 2.8 million dollars its export unit earned that quarter came from its hedging program. Liam Moriarty reports. Coal Giant's Financials Reveal Export Weakness

Environmental regulators from the Northwest deliberated Wednesday about the dramatic changes in the way oil and other energy products are carried through the region. At a task force meeting of West Coast states, Linda Pilkey-Jarvis of the Washington Department of Ecology described the sudden increase in oil trains coming into the state and traveling along the Columbia River. She said oil-spill response resources have typically focused on tanker traffic off the coast or pipeline routes, so the new transport strategies will require new tactics, new technologies and new personnel around inland water resources. Mike Baker reports. West Coast officials discuss oil transportation    See also: BNSF Defends Safety Of Oil Trains To West Coast Regulators

A recently-formed environmental watchdog group is appealing nearly a dozen permits issued for development along the Puget Sound shoreline. Sound Action says too many permits are being issued without the restrictions the law requires to protect important fish species. The permits, issued by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, range from a boat ramp in Tacoma to a breakwater in Anacortes. According to Sound Action Executive Director Amy Carey, what they have in common is they fail to require the developer to take actions that would limit the project's impact on the environment. Carey says the state has fairly strong laws to protect marine habitat, but too often they're not consistently enforced. Liam Moriarty reports. Watchdog Group Appeals Shoreline Permits, Urges Better Marine Habitat Protection  

A healing process is underway where Mission Creek flows into Budd Inlet at the southern-most end of the city of Olympia’s 314-acre Priest Point Park. An old city right-of-way road, earthen berm and concrete culvert that kept the tide and stream from interacting naturally for as many as 100 years will soon be gone. In its place will be a new stream channel that will allow salmon and cutthroat trout to more easily traverse the 1.5-mile-long stream that flows from northeast Olympia into South Sound. John Dodge reports. Salmon will again enter Mission Creek from bay

Saturday is National Public Lands Day and National Estuaries Day! Just celebrate: The San Juan County Land Bank invites you to Watmough Bay on Lopez Island and in Olympia join in on the Deschutes Estuary Restoration Team’s annual picnic. And don't forget to tell the BLM what your dreams are for the San Juan Islands National Monument, Thursday on Orcas and Friday on San Juan and Lopez.

The vast 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill damaged the tiny animals that live on the sea floor for about 57 square miles around the blown-out BP oil well, with severe damage in about nine square miles of that area, says a researcher from Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. Pollution and damage to animal life was severe nearly two miles from the wellhead and identifiable more than 10 miles away, Paul Montagna wrote in a report published Tuesday in the online journal PLOS One. Montagna, a professor of ecosystems and modeling, said the refrigerator-cold water a mile beneath the surface means oil takes longer to decay than in shallower waters, where spill recovery has taken years to decades. That means full recovery could take a generation or more, he said in an interview Tuesday. Janet McConnaughey reports. Study: BP spill damaged sea-floor life for miles

Sometime between Sunday and Monday evenings, Greenwich Mean Time, the bulk carrier Nordic Orion passed through the Northwest Passage and into Baffin Bay, sailing into history as it went. The ship – a 225-metre, ice-strengthened carrier loaded with B.C. coal bound for Finland – became the first bulk carrier to make the voyage, which has lured explorers for more than a century and has long been eyed as a commercial route. Wendy Stueck reports. Ship crosses Northwest Passage, sails into history

A report presented to the United Nations indicates British Columbia is meeting its legislated targets to cut greenhouse gas pollution, but environmental leaders say that won’t last much longer even if the province sets up a smokescreen to hide the air pollution created by proposed liquefied natural gas operations. Environment Canada’s national inventory submission in April to the United Nations Framework Convention on climate change shows B.C.’s greenhouse gas, or GHG, emissions have declined almost six per cent since 2007 when the province passed its law to cut the emissions by 33 per cent by 2020... But B.C. climate scientist Mark Jaccard, who helped the Liberal government develop its climate targets law and implement the carbon tax, said he’s given up on Canada’s GHG reduction plans and is now working with the California Energy Commission which is advising U.S. President Barack Obama on cutting emissions. B.C. meeting greenhouse gas reduction targets, but setting up smokescreen for LNG: experts  

An independent scientific review panel has concluded that the mass stranding of approximately 100 melon-headed whales in the Loza Lagoon system in northwest Madagascar in 2008 was primarily triggered by acoustic stimuli, more specifically, a multi-beam echosounder system operated by a survey vessel contracted by ExxonMobil Exploration and Production (Northern Madagascar) Limited. Whale Mass Stranding Attributed to Sonar Mapping for First Time

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PDT THU SEP 26 2013
TODAY
S WIND TO 10 KT BECOMING E IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 5 FT AT 10 SECONDS. PATCHY FOG THIS MORNING.
TONIGHT
LIGHT WIND BECOMING SW TO 10 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 3 FT AT 9 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF RAIN AFTER MIDNIGHT.
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